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Review: American Vampire 1976 #2

American Vampire 1976 #2

If you read the first issue of American Vampire 1976 and came out of it a little lost and confused, American Vampire 1976 #2 is what you’re looking for. The first issue played off of previous knowledge of the series in its set-up. This second issue explains what you need to know to enjoy the series. The stakes, the characters, it’s all laid out here for new readers and a reminder for long-time fans.

For those who don’t know, this latest volume takes place in 1976. Evil vampires are looking to wake up an ancient evil. To stop them, Skinner Sweet is recruited to steal a train which holds clues to stop it all.

Writer Scott Snyder does a fantastic job with this issue. American Vampire 1976 #2 acts as an easy way to catch up on everything you might not know and missed. It also really moves the story along in a quick pace. We’re much further in the story than I expected at this point. Things have flown with a fun aspect about it all.

In between Snyder cementing who these characters are, we also get some solid action, great humor, and horror. American Vampire 1976 #2 feels almost like the real start of the series to the previous issue’s tease and setup. It’s been years since I’ve read a comic from the series and it was beyond helpful to get this issue. It’s the perfect reminder as to what I didn’t remember. For new readers, it’ll be vital as the first issue. It packs a lot in but left out the “why” new readers should care.

Rafael Albuquerque’s art continues to be fantastic. Joined by Dave McCaig on color, the visuals of the comic bounce between horror and action. There are some fantastic sequences that drive things along and it’s all delivered with 70s cool. Albuquerque’s Gerald Ford is a little lacking but that’s a minor issue for a comic that otherwise looks great. What truly stands out is the team’s ability to balance its various genres. The comic is part heist and part horror and the two are balanced visually. If the horror aspects went a bit “scarier” or “gory” they would feel off or even more extreme to the issue’s focus on a heist.

The big sequence is a train robbery that relies more on the action and grand visuals and sequences made for the big screen. That sequence too eventually goes into horror territory with the need to that sequence to balance out with others in the comic. If other parts of the comic were a bit scarier or gorier, it’d lessen the pop for what happens later in the comic. It’s a solid balance done where one genre aspect never overpowers the other and the two deliver an entertaining balance.

American Vampire 1976 #2 is a fantastic second issue. It takes a step back to make sure all readers are caught up and on the same page while hurtling the story forward balancing its various aspects. While it’s the second issue, it feels like the true start to things and is as good a starting point as the first issue. If you were a bit confused by the debut or feel like you were missing something give this second issue a shot and get caught right up.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Rafael Albuquerque Color: Dave McCaig
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: American Vampire 1976 #1

American Vampire 1976 #1

It feels like forever since I read an issue of American Vampire. While I remember the series starting off slow, it quickly became one of my favorite reads. The series showed off the talent of writer Scott Snyder and the artistic talent of Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig. It’s been years… and honestly, I don’t remember a lot of it. That’s both good and bad for American Vampire 1976 #1. The good is, you generally don’t need to know what happened. The bad is, you’ll want to find out.

Snyder returns to his take on the world of vampires as the series flashes forward to 1976. It’s the bi-centennial for the United States. Though it’s 44 years ago, there are some things that are the same as today. It’s 1976, the President is a criminal, the economy is in the shitter, China is gaining, and “Russia is handing us our balls.” Add in people joining cults, kids going missing and people “kissing the devil’s ring instead of the lord’s feet,” and you could be talking about today.

It’s interesting that Snyder chose 1976 for the series to take place. While the above about how similar of a time it is today does stand out, the reality is, it’s kind of the hook as to where the comic is initially going. The comic to start is the setup of a heist.

American Vampire 1976 #1 lays out the series in a way one might expect for an Ocean’s 11 film. The key players are introduced and their personalities laid out on the table. The problem is discussed and the solution is a heist as to the answer. Much of the comic is standard in that way but it’s done with such and style and attitude, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

But, what Snyder does that’s impressive is create a first issue that’s solid for new and old readers alike. If you remember everything that has happened, you’ll love jumping back in the world. For those that are new, there’s more than enough teased in explanations to understand what’s going on. You might not know specific characters and their connections but you get a sense what they think of each other and how they interact.

The cool of the comic is brought together through the art of Rafael Albuquerque and the colors of Dave McCaig. The comic art brings the 70s to life in its settings, clothes, and details. I can’t say how accurate the looks are, but it put me in the setting, and in the end, that’s what matters for me as a reader. The characters look like they haven’t aged a day since last I read the series, nor should they but to see their new style based on the era brings some fun with it.

What I really like about American Vampire 1976 #1 and the series as a whole is how it delivers action and the vampire aspect without going over the top. The issue has some gory fight scenes but never takes you out of the story. A head might be on the floor but it feels natural and maybe even downplays the gore a bit.

American Vampire 1976 #1 is a bit of the typical gathering of the key players story but it does it all in such an entertaining way both story-wise and look. It’s a fun reintroduction to the world of Skinner Sweet, the American Vampire, and has me wanting to go back and read what has come before. It impressively pulls off a debut that’s accessible for new readers and should excite longtime fans. Despite being years since the last chapter, American Vampire doesn’t miss a beat with its return.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Rafael Albuquerque Color: Dave McCaig
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Preview: American Vampire 1976 #1

American Vampire 1976 #1

Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Rafael Albuquerque

America is broken. Trust between the government and the American public has crumbled. Paranoia reigns supreme. It’s 1976, and this is the concluding chapter of the Eisner Award-winning American Vampire! Skinner Sweet has exhausted all efforts to regain his lost immortality. With his powers and purpose gone, he is now determined to go out with a bang. At a seedy motorcycle rally in the desert where he’s closer than ever to his death wish, Pearl Jones and a shocking partner track him down for one last, desperate mission: The force known as the Gray Trader and its minions are tunneling through the bowels of the world to unleash hell on Earth—just in time for America’s bicentennial. With catastrophe looming, it’s up to Skinner and Pearl to reconcile and change the course of history—or die trying. The series that launched the careers of superstars Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque returns for nine final issues and the closing chapter of the legacy of American Vampire.

American Vampire 1976 #1

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web!

The Beat – Ben Passmore signs with Pantheon for new graphic novel about Black activism – Oooo, this one is on our read list.

How to Love Comics – American Vampire Reading Order Guide – If you enjoy vampire tales, check this one out.

Reviews

CBR – There are Things I Can’t Tell You
Geek Dad – Virtually Yours

Virtually Yours

Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque Head to 1976 for New American Vampire

America is broken. Trust between the government and the American public has crumbled. Paranoia reigns supreme. It’s 1976, not 2020, and this horrifying tale is the concluding chapter of the Eisner Award-winning American Vampire, reuniting Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque for a nine-issue miniseries!

Skinner Sweet has exhausted all efforts to regain his lost immortality. With his powers and purpose gone, he is now determined to go out with a bang. At a seedy motorcycle rally in the desert where Skinner’s closer than ever to his death wish, Pearl Jones and a shocking partner track him down for one last, desperate mission: the force known as the Gray Trader and its minions are tunneling through the bowels of the world to unleash hell on Earth—just in time for America’s bicentennial. With catastrophe looming, it’s up to Skinner and Pearl to reconcile and change the course of history—or die trying.

The series that launched the careers of superstars Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque returns for nine final issues and the closing chapter of the legacy of American Vampire.

American Vampire 1976 #1 by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque will publish on October 6, 2020, and carry DC’s Black Label descriptor, identifying the content as appropriate for readers ages 17+. The book will retail for $3.99 with cover artwork by Albuquerque and a variant cover by Dustin Nguyen.

American Vampire 1976 #1

Preview: American Vampire Anthology #2

American Vampire Anthology #2

Written by: Various
Cover by: Rafael Albuquerque
Illustrator Various

This special features nine amazing stories set in the world of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, with lost tales, new characters and old favorites. Series creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque will be joined by other amazing creators such as Kieron Gillen (The Wicked and Divine), Steve Orlando (MIDNIGHTER), Marguerite Bennett (DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS), Elliot Kalan (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer), Clay McLeod Chapman (Storage Space), and many more!

amvampan_cv2_prfct_bnd

The Rise And Fall Of Horror Comics

Source: wikipedia

Horror comics have had it rough.

For a few years they were at the forefront of the comic book industry, pushing the envelope with the stories they told, and influencing some of the most recognizable names in horror over the past five decades. From the late 40’s to the mid 50’s, horror comics essentially printed money for their publishers.

It would not, it could not, last.

There is some debate as to the first horror comic; Prize Comics #7 began an eight page feature adapting Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,  causing some to label it as the first true horror series. There were other adaptations during the early to  mid 40’s, one of which was Gilberton Publications Classic Comics #13. Printing a full adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Classic Comics #13 is the earliest known comic book dedicated purely to horror.

Comic book cover shows a bald, robed man moving toward a frightened woman on the floor in a strapless dress. Her hands and feet are bound. Price of the comic is listed as 10 cents.

Source: wikipedia

However the first horror comic with original content is widely recognized as Eerie Comics #1, by Avon Publications cover dated January of 1947 (but the comic was actually published at the tail end of 1946). This volume of Eerie Comics never had a second issue, but it was relaunched in 1951.

Horror comics enjoyed some popularity on the newsstands, but it wasn’t until 1950 when EC Comics came on the scene that the genre really exploded with EC’s “trifecta of terror”: The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, and Crypt of Terror – which later became Tales from the Crypt.

The stories in the above comics, and the others that would follow, are bloody, gory, gruesome, macabre, sinister, and, at times, silly. They were truly horrific comics, but for some they were absolutely wonderful, and their influence on game-changing artists and writers can’t be overstated. Stephen King and George Romero, both hugely influential men on their own, created the film Creepshow as a love letter to the comics that influenced them as children. Alan Moore, one of the most acclaimed comic book writers of the past few decades, has a character reading an EC Comics-like story at a newsstand throughout the main story of Watchmen. Years later, HBO would develop a very successful anthology television show that ran from 1989 to 1996 based on the content of many EC stories published in during the 50’s, turning the Cryptkeeper into a household name.

But the golden age of horror comics of the early to mid 50’s would not last.

With the fallout from Fredric Wertham‘s book Seduction of the Innocent, and the Comics Code Authority (CCA) that resulted, horror comics, hit hard than any other genre, were virtually wiped out over night. Jobs were lost, publishers nearly went out of business, and the face of comics changed forever. Horror comics were everywhere, until suddenly they weren’t.

To say horror comics vanished over night isn’t strictly accurate. The essence of the comics stayed alive despite the CCA’s best efforts. James Warren of Warren Publishing would produce black and white horror comics, but published as a magazine, they were exempt from the CCA’s rules. By publishing these stories in a magazine format, Warren paved the way for other publishers to produce horror comics magazines.

Horror comics, like any good villain, wouldn’t stay down forever.

Although the Comics Code Authority spelled the end of horror comics for many years, we are currently experiencing a resurgence in horror comics – in a large part, perhaps, because the CCA has been entirely abandoned by publishers. The  old EC Comics, those classically macabre stories that are finally making their way into reprinted volumes that for fans of the genre are an unparalleled look into the past. Modern comic books like The Walking Dead, American Vampire, and 30 Days of Night are only a handful of the titles that are carrying the torch of influence that can traced back to the golden age of horror of the early 50’s.

While perhaps not as popular as they were 60 years ago, when they accounted for almost a quarter of all comics published, horror comics have been making a steady return to prominence in the comic book world.

That’s not a bad thing.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day today! What’s everyone getting?

Around the Tubes

ICv2 – Waid Now a Retailer – Good luck sir!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Bite Club – American Vampire, Volume 1

CBR – FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics #2

CBR – Infinity #2

CBR – Morning Glories #30

Comic Vine – Superior Spider-Man #17

Comic Vine – X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1

MTV Geek – Villains Month Reviews: Count Vertigo, Relic, and Grodd

Review: American Vampire Anthology #1

AV_ANTHOLOGY_CVRfinal_stwjb2o9tn_You are cordially invited to a party—to die for! American Vampire Anthology features eight amazing stories set in the world of American Vampire, with “lost tales,” new characters and old favorites. The list of creators is impressive and long. But, with so much talent, could this be pulled off? And could it be pulled with a high quality narrative that ties into the mythos that Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque have built? The answer is a resounding yes.

Each individual involved in this release is immensely talented on their own and together they not only entertain, but are able to flesh out the world that’s been set up for all these years, even filling in some gaps for characters.

And that’s what’s amazing about this issue. It can entertain with short stories set in the world of American Vampire, but also adds so much for those of us who have been reading since the beginning. It also shows that should Snyder or Albuquerque decide to pass on the series, that they have a long list of contributors that can do it justice.

There isn’t one entry here that falters at all. There’s not one misstep at all. The entries are all about even, with fantastic stories and amazing art. It’s beyond a complete package showing off the strength of the anthology and the issue makes the case for its inclusion as best “one-shot” or “anthology” when the end of year awards come around.

I could go on and on gushing about the comic, because it’s that dame good. This is a release that’s a solid for new readers as it is for long time fans and even though the issue boasts a hefty price tag, that’s worth the talent and quality with in.

The only negative I can say about this is, it reminds me how much I’ve missed my monthly American Vampire fix. Though if I can get more quality releases like this while I wait, I might be filled with bloody goodness.

Story: Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Jason Aaron, Rafael Albuquerque, Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla Art: Becky Cloonan, Rafael Albuquerque, Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Francesco Francavilla, Declan Shalvey, Ivo Milazzo, Ray Fawkes, Tula Lotay, JP Leon
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Pick(s) of the Week: American Vampire Anthology #1 and a Bunch More!

AV_ANTHOLOGY_CVRfinal_stwjb2o9tn_There’s a hell of a lot of solid comics out this week, but none fill a fix like American Vampire Anthology #1. American Vampire has been on hiatus for a bit while writer Scott Snyder releases some awesome other comics (*cough* The Wake *cough*). So, to get a chance to get a bit of the mythos, even as an anthology, is quite ok with us.

This special features eight amazing stories set in the world of American Vampire, with “lost tales,” new characters and old favorites. So, don’t miss these stories brought to you by series creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, as well as other awesome comics talent like Becky Cloonan, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Jeff Lemire, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone and many more!

You are cordially invited to a party—to die for!

Catch our full list of picks below!

Andrew:

Top Pick: King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #4 (Dark Horse) – Conan claws his way from the depths to regain his throne. The inside is as good as the outside’s award-worthy cover art, trust me.

Miss Fury #5 (Dynamite) – There’s something about a seductive billionaire heiress with super powers who battles time traveling nazis that keeps me coming back for more. Can’t quite put my finger on it…

Overtaken #1 (Aspen) – Most Aspen series, much to my dismay, have the same look and feel to me, but this newest one appears different from the rest. While the abducted loved one is a familiar story, I’m anxious to see their take on it.

Uncanny #3 (Dynamite) – The god-awful cover aside, Andy Diggle’s thief-with-powers crime story is a great read, and it’s not too late to start from the beginning.

Brett:

Top Pick: American Vampire Anthology (Vertigo) – See above as to why I think this’ll be awesome and well worth the price tag.

The Massive #15 (Dark Horse) – Brian Wood continues to knock it out of the park with each issue and somehow the series is only getting better.

Occupy Comics #3 (Black Mask Studios) – Politics = comics = awesome. So much talent packed into one issue.

Overtaken #1 (Aspen) – The $1 price tag should be enough of a reason to pick it up, but Aspen is giving us what seems to be an interesting story about possible abduction by aliens.

Uncanny #3 (Dynamite) – Super powers + crime = this. The first two issues were intriguing and the third really starts to ramp up the storyline and give us an idea as to where it’s going next.

Scott:

Top Pick: American Vampire Anthology #1 (Vertigo) – I love this series and it’s been torture waiting for it to come back, but this anthology written and illustrated by an amazing list of creators should be a phenomenal way to ease back into the AV world.

Lazarus #3 (Image) – After last month’s excellent world building issue, I can’t wait for this arc to pick up some steam. Plus, we get to meet another Lazarus, and the dynamic between he and Faith should be fascinating.

Sean:

Top Pick: Batman/Superman #3 (DC Comics) – This has been an incredible, confusing book so far. And, hot damn, what’s Wonder Woman doing?!

Batman, Inc. Special #1 (DC Comics) – With the end of Grant Morrison’s famed and infamous run on Batman, it’s time to see where other writers will take these characters…including Bat-Cow!

Larfleeze #3 (DC Comics) – Keith Giffen is one of my favorite writers, and Larfleeze is funny as hell. If you like Douglas Adams or funny sci-fi, you’ll want to check this out!

Almost American
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